Friday, April 27, 2012


If you are in the Lake of the Ozarks area this Saturday, stop by the Lake Area Fiber Arts Festival in Osage Beach and visit us. I will have a sampling of most of my bases with me and I can take custom orders at the show.

And now on to the post below. I've been working on it off and on all week. It's one of those thought process/peek-behind-the-curtain posts. Expanding my product line beyond yarn and fiber has been on my mind a lot the last 6 months or so. I'm experimenting to see what works for me and what works for the shop.

The first thing I do when I stumble in to the kitchen each morning is to turn on the dye pots, because they take FOR-EV-ER to heat up. The second thing I do is check on the dyeing from the day before. In this case, it's Monday and I'm checking on the silk ribbon and silk hankies I dyed Wednesday of last week. I spent Thursday and Friday sick last week (this week, too) so no dyeing got done those days. .

The hankies turned out pretty good. They will be ironed later this week and put up in the Sulky Cat shop soon.
The silk fairy ribbon (aka crepe ribbon) turned out awesome, except for the orange one that I accidentally spilled blue dye on. No wait, that kind of looks awesome, too. I will order more undyed fairy ribbon soon for either the Dyeabolical or Sulky Cat shop.

 I'm satisfied with the wool/silk scarf I dyed. Satisfied enough to buy more scarf blanks, at least, so I will add a few of those to my order for the Sulky Cat shop.

 The silk embroidery ribbon looks great, except it is an tangled mess of epic proportions. It will cost me more in labor to untangle it than what I sell it for. I think I will temporarily abandon trying to dye this kind of ribbon and stick with my current method of acquiring hand dyed silk embroidery. That is, buy it wholesale from someone who specializes in hand painting tiny ribbons and offer it for sale in my shop along with a few other commercial supplies. 
1/2" bias silk ribbon...It's my first time trying to dye it while it is still on the spool. Other ribbon dyers swear that you just have to dunk the spool in to the dye for a few hours and let it wick up the dye. I think those other ribbon dyers must be either magical or liars. Or maybe magical liars. I have one spool that turned out very nice, if you ignore the fact the cardboard disintegrated and the spool, but it required a lot more time and poking than I was hoping or. It is now a tangled mess that will cost more to untangle than I can sell it for. The rest of the spools I tested are a disaster-a brightly colored on the outside, stark white on the inside. I can salvage it if I unwind the spools and paint each yard by hand. That will happen when I don't have anything else to do.

It is enough to discourage me from doing any silk embroidery ribbon or bias ribbon for awhile. This is my second time dyeing bias silk ribbon for sale. The first time I hand painted 2 yard lengths. They were pretty, but I had to sell them for so much per piece because of the labor costs that I ended up not selling very many. This second time is enough to discourage me from the ribbon dyeing for awhile.

In the meantime, on Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday of last week I cast on for a tank top pattern that is 5" too short for me and needs lengtheing, in the largest possible size, that requires 1 more hank than I have available, that is in the wrong gauge and is alternately too wide and too narrow depending on where you measure, and that needs to be done by tomorrow so I can wear it. I have to pack the car, set up for a show, pack orders, go to the post office, get pretty, my hands hurt, and I keep finding reasons not to knit (like blogging). Yet, I still hold out hope that 24 hours from now I will be wearing a tank top knit with my own 2 hands. I know all of you knitters out there know exactly what I'm talking about.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Dots of Plenty

I am so pleased that I have half an hour to sit down and blog this morning. I really miss it sometimes. I have a lot to catch up on, so I will dot it up and try to keep it brief.
  • Ann and I will be at the 26th Annual Southern Illinois Sheep and Craft Festival in Waterloo, Il tomorrow morning. The forecast predicts a 50/50 chance of rain, but we will be inside the barn, dry as a bone. It takes about 20 minutes to get to Waterloo from South St. Louis County.
  • If you can't make it to Waterloo, then you can catch up with Ann and I at the Lake Fiber Arts Show in Osage Beach, MO on April 28. 
  • Scott and I will not  be at the Kentucky show as vendors. We're pretty sad about it and hope to return next spring, but it was the right decision to make. It is better to let someone else who could be ready for the show take our spot than to push too hard getting ready and be miserable with pain the entire time we're down there. I'm such a delicate flower. {insert eyeroll here} Look for actual knitting content, some real blog posts, and pictures of life outside my kitchen once the Lake Fiber show is done.
  • [UPDATE: I completely forgot to mention that there is a Vittorio KAL. Details here.]A few months ago I put a call out for sample knitters. One of the people who replied was Corrina Ferguson (aka picnicknits). She offered to design with my yarn. Most of her designs are with semisolid yarns, so I was a little wibblywobbly about sending her a highly variegated yarn, but I am so glad I did. Look at this shawl!!! It is so amazing! It is called Vittorio and uses Strong Arm Skinny (or just Skinny, as I've been calling it lately) in the Flower Shop Inferno colorway. I have been getting so many emails about this colorway this week. Shortly after this blog post updates, I will be adding 9 hanks of this color in 4 different bases (2-3 per base) to the shop and I will have some with me at the show tomorrow.

  •  Preparing for two shows, the success of the Vittorio shawl and a lonnnnng back order on yarn at my main mill has left the shop very short on undyed yarn right now. I am taking requests for colorways to be dyed up specially right now and I am waiving my regular deposit fee as along as you are requesting one of my regular colorways on one of my regular bases. I have even resurrected the old Alter Ego base (superwash merino 2-ply, tightly twisted for strength, 429 yards peer 100 grams) and added a new heavy fingering/light sport base (superwash merino, over sized hank at 434 yards per 150 gams). It may take up to 5 weeks to dye your order, depending on the base you choose. The new yarn can be dyed up fastest, Skinny will take the longest. Here's a quick primer to my fingering weight to sport weight yarns.
Strong Arm Skinny - Superwash merino/nylon 400 yards per100 grams, 2-ply (perfect for soft socks nd shawls)

Alter Ego - Superwash merino, 429 yards per 100 grams, 2-ply (this is the base I used to use back when I started, there is no nylon content but it is great for shawls and lightweight garments)

Bling - very similar to Skinny, but with sparkle (perfect for soft socks and shawls)

BFL HardTwist - 438 yards, 100 gram made from superwash blue faced leicester. This is one of my favorite yarns. It takes dyes slightly darker than the other fingering weight yarns and is a nice sturdy European-style sock yarn. BFL is slightly rougher than merino, but still next to skin soft. It is better suited for socks than merino, so does not require nylon content to make a sturdy sock yarn.

A new yet unnamed base yarn - superwash merino, heavy fingering weight, almost a sport weight, will be sold in oversized150 gram hanks, about 434 yards 3-ply.

Sporty! -- superwash merino wool, sport weight, 328 yards per 100 grams. I don't dye this one very often.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Club FAQ

I hate surprises! 
I hear ya. The picture in the listing is the color you are getting. There will be some variations due to dye lot and normal variations found in hand dyed fibers, but for the most part what you see is what you get. If you don't like a color for one month, then you aren't stuck with trying to destash it like you would with a traditional club format.

I love surprises!
The colorway won't be a surprise for this club, but the swag will be! Inside your club package will be small  gifts worth $6-10 that have been hand picked to match either the color or the theme of the club.

What is this "swag" you speak of? Is that some sort of internet speak?
Swag probably is internet speak now that I think of it. Synonyms for swag are  loot - booty - spoil. Swag is the neat little extras you are getting above and beyond the fiber or yarn. They are usually related to the theme of the shipment or the color of the shipment. It may include soaps, stitch markers, mini-batts, mini-hanks, beads, beaded goodies, hand made gifts, ribbons, stationary, lotions, etc.

I hate commitment!
Me, too. Remind me to tell you about the time I had to pick a major in college.

This club is perfect for people who don't want to commit to 3 months of a traditional club. You are only committing to buying one installment of the club and I am even showing you what the color is in advance, so there are no surprises there. You can pick and choose which clubs you participate in. If you don't like a color for one month, then you aren't stuck with trying to destash it like you would with a traditional club format. The picture in the listing is the color you are getting.

I love commitment! 
I'm committed to the Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass theme for every club for the rest of 2012 (and maybe longer).

I'll wait until you dye the color again and buy it then.
Ok, fair enough. It will be at least a year before I dye this color again if I dye this color again. There are some colors that will never be repeated. I don't decide in advance which club colors will or won't be repeated.

Can anyone join? 
Yes, as long as you join before the signups close.

When does it ship?
Each listing will have a ship-by date. In general, it will take about 6 weeks from the time sign-ups close until the time your order ships. 

What if I want more than 1 hank of yarn or more than 4oz or 8oz of fiber?
Contact me and I will set up a custom listing for you

Why do you have multiple listings? 
Each listing is a different fiber, yarn or quantity. You choose which base you would like the club color to be dyed on. Sometimes there will be many options to choose from; sometimes there will be only 3 choices - the yarn, 4oz of fiber, or 8 oz of fiber.

I'm unhappy!
I'm sorry! I don't want anyone to be unhappy. Please contact me within 3 days of receipt if you are unhappy with your club shipment and we can discuss options. For my full refund policy, please read this link.

How often will you offer this club?  
Approximately every other month.

What's wrong with kids these days? 
They don't have enough fiber in their diet. Don't let that happen to you